By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja
The chairman of PDP National Post-convention Reconciliation Committee and governor of Bayelsa State, Hon Seriake Dickson, yesterday declared that South-west leaders of the party had pledged their commitment to the party ahead of 2019.
The governor said the resolve of the party leaders was the outcome of two days of closed-door meetings with aggrieved chairmanship candidates and Peoples Democratic Party leaders in the zone.
The special adviser to Dickson on media relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor as saying this after meetings with former deputy national chairman, South, Chief Olabode George; former governorship candidate of the party in Lagos, Chief Jimmy Agbaje, and other chieftains of the party in the South-west in Lagos on Thursday night.
Present at the meeting were former minister of works, Senator Adesewe Ogunlewe; former deputy governor of Lagos, Sen. Kofoworola Akerele-Bucknor; former minister of state for defence, Erelu Olusola Obada; former minister of transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope; former national vice chairman, South West, Ishola Filani, Elder Wole Oyelese, Othman Shodipe and others.
Governor Dickson said that the PDP leaders in the South West displayed understanding on the need to have a strong and united political platform to wrest the country from the current situation of hopelessness in the land.
He said, “We think that our reconciliation efforts in the South-west have gone on very well. Our party leaders have left nobody in doubt as to their commitment, genuine and abiding commitment, and loyalty to the party in the service of our great party.
“They understand that we have no option, and that all people of goodwill need to be in a formidable platform: a non-religious, non sectarian, all-inclusive big umbrella that would unite our party more, unite our nation more and deliver Nigeria from the situation of hopelessness that we now find themselves.
“I think all of us are united to do what is right for our country and we are grateful, as a committee, to our party leaders and we count on them, particularly the leadership of the party in the South-west to reunite the party, to build a cohesive and strong party. We have assured them that, moving forward, the South-west would be a critical pillar of support upon which our future success will be built and they have got that message.”
The Bayelsa governor noted that the reconciliation committee was pleased with the individual and collective responses of the chieftains they had met, adding that they were all committed to the solidarity and continued membership and service of the party in order to return the PDP to leadership at the national level.
Meanwhile, aggrieved chairmanship candidate and former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, yesterday said he would not partake in destroying a party he had helped to build.
But while he said he bore no grudges over the emergence of the new chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, he, however, urged the PDP to put its house in order ahead of 2019, reminding the party new leaders that justice, fairness and equity were the three pillars on which the party rested.
George said: “Yes the convention has come and gone. No qualms about Secondus. I have played a role in his coming and he has perpetually reflected that in all he does. The visit today is so timely. I have refused to make comments, because as a party man, I cannot be part of those that will destroy the house that I built; that is not in our culture.
“I want to assure you that, yes, we have debated; we have analysed, and we have come with the best suggested solutions to prepare us for the future.
“Of course, to err is human. I am happy you are here; we will do the analyses; we will discuss among ourselves. I can assure you that, at the end of the day, with people like you and the men in your committee, we will be able to analyse it so that those who are going to be at the helm of affairs will now know the mined areas as we head out to the real battle.
“The real battle is out there one year from now. We must strictly put our house in order with justice, fairness and equity as the three solid pillars of our party.”
In his remark, the party’s candidate for Lagos State in the 2015 governorship election, Jimi Agbaje, described the meeting as productive in the concerted bid to strengthen the party.
He reaffirmed his hope in the PDP and commended the efforts being made to address the observed hitches in the last convention.
Agbaje, who spoke in the presence of the South West National Vice Chairman of the PDP, Chief Eddy Olafeso, said that the membership of the party was engrossed in moves to retrieve power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.
“I think it has been a very good meeting moving forward. For some of us, it is about moving the party forward. There were hitches here and there, but I think
we are trying to smoothen those rough edges. And I can see that we are coming out much happier than when we went in.
“We have every faith that the PDP is going to remain strong. We have every hope and we are working strongly to ensure that we take over power come 2019. To do that we are going to do everything possible, bring everybody on board. We are going to sell ourselves to the people and by God’s grace we will be there,” he said.